There are no braver souls than children faced with the news that they have type 1 diabetes. It’s not something that’s curable and not something that’s easy to deal with. From the point they absorb that diagnosis, they have to watch what they eat, when they eat, when they exercise, how they sleep–virtually every aspect of their lives are affected.

Enter the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. Their mission ┬áis to provide state-of the-art care to children and adults with type 1 diabetes and to teach patients how to prevent or delay complications. Part of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, their research is devoted to finding prevention, cure, and most effective treatment of diabetes and associated disorders. Now one of the largest diabetes institutes in the world, the Center provides state-of-the-art diabetes care to 3600 children and 2400 adults with diabetes from the Rocky Mountain Region as well as receiving national and international referrals.

Barbara and Marvin Davis

Most have heard the story of Barbara and Marvin Davis, philanthropists who founded the Center in 1978 when daughter Dana was only seven when she was diagnosed with type 1 and there was no care center to speak of west of Boston. Dana is now Executive Director of the Foundation and works tirelessly with her team to fund research and care and hopefully look forward to a cure one day. Dana spoke from the heart at last night’s Carousel Ball, sharing memories that when she was first diagnosed, there was only beef and pork insulin–no pumps, no pens, no monitors–just hope.

The Carousel Ball is the hallmark fundraiser for the Foundation and the Center. Entertainers such as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis were family friends and came to the event back in the day. The event is still star-studded: none other than country superstar Reba McEntire was on hand to provide lively entertainment, and the program was emceed by Mario Lopez.

Well-heeled guests gathered at the Hyatt Regency and spirits were high. Lisa and Tom Corley received the High Hopes Tribute Award and the Founder’s Award went to Richard Abrams MD.

Dana Davis with Advocates

But the real stars always have been and will continue to be the kids. Bright and happy, the “advocates” on hand posed for pictures, greeted guests, gave high fives to bidders and very effectively reminded everyone why they were there. Hopes are high that once the advocates become adults, there will be a cure for diabetes, and when that happens, the Barbara Davis Center will be front and center.